It’s possible Delta will delay deliveries of the C Series planes, which are scheduled to begin next year, Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said Wednesday. The airline is also contemplating “various other plans” if the preliminary duties are finalized, he said without elaborating. Delta last year agreed to buy at least 75 of the jets at a list price of more than $5 billion.
“We will not pay those tariffs, and that is very clear,” Bastian said on a conference call with investors and analysts after reporting third-quarter results. “We intend to take the aircraft.”
Delta’s determination not to pay the import charges raised the stakes in a dispute pitting Montreal-based Bombardier against Boeing Co., which accused its Canadian rival of selling the C Series at “absurdly low prices.” Boeing won support from President Donald Trump’s administration, which ruled that Bombardier sold the planes at less than their fair market value after benefiting from government subsidies in Canada.
The trade spat has soured diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Canada, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warning that his government won’t buy new military jets from Boeing unless the Chicago-based planemaker drops the case.
The U.S. Commerce Department ruling has also drawn fire from British Prime Minister Theresa May, who lobbied Trump on behalf of Bombardier and the more than 4,000 people it employs at facilities in Northern Ireland.